I Walked 5K for Breast Cancer!

On Sunday, October 14th, I walked a 5K to help raise money for breast cancer awareness and the American Cancer Society.

It was, surprisingly, my first time doing a 5K and I had a lot of fun! I went with a friend, who was walking for his girlfriend.  She had been diagnosed breast cancer, which was detected very early, 3 weeks prior, and had undergone a complete double mastectomy and reconstruction shortly after.  We walked with the AT&T Team PINK 2012 – Honoring Our Angels group and as a team raised $1170 (not including any day of donations that were made, of which I brought in an additional $100).

As a whole, the event raised over $137,000!

Our team was in the top 30 in terms of bringing in donations, which is pretty awesome considering there were over 85 teams registered. I’m pretty proud to have been a part of this event, and am looking forward to participating again next year!  5K sounds like a long walk, but it was easy.  Was I a little sore Monday morning?  Yea.  But that’s peanuts compared to what cancer patients have to go through!

A couple of breast cancer survivors spoke to us before the walk kicked off. Both women’s stories touched me, and they were incredibly strong women.  However, one of them really made me think.  She was young, and had been going for annual mammograms since she turned 30.  One year, her mammogram was fine.  The next year, it wasn’t, and she was diagnosed with stage 2B breast cancer.  In a year.  It’s terrifying to think about, and hearing her talk about how her life was turned upside down by the diagnosis was something that made me think about how I would feel, who I would turn to, and what I would do.  She had a good support system in her family and friends, and I know I would too.  She was also able to get support from the American Cancer Society, and talk to other women who had gone through what she was, which was wonderful to hear.  She volunteers now herself as a mentor for women going through the same thing.

There was also a man who spoke, and his story was powerful as well. Cancer had touched his life in numerous ways, and he even suffered from a form of it himself.  He was also a member of the extended AT&T team (not the one I walked with, but there were numerous AT&T teams), and I found myself proud to be a part of the same team as I watched him speak wearing the same shirt I was.

I found myself in awe of everyone who spoke. Not only were they survivors of a horrible disease, who used their family and friends for love and support, but they were able to form a bond with strangers, and then pay it forward, each of them in their own way.  And they were strong enough to get up in front of hundreds of people and share their stories with poise and strength that I found incredible.  After listening to them, I was eager to start walking and do my part, but it also felt like it just wasn’t enough.  All I did was wake up early and walk a few miles.  Them?  They fought cancer and won.

I’ll be keeping an eye on the Making Strides event and putting a team together for an upcoming walk (likely in 2013). If you’d like to walk with me, let me know and I’ll get an email list together of interested people to send walk info to as it comes out.

Shout out to my family and friends, who rallied together at the very last minute to help me raise a total of $255 for the cause!  Thank you, thank you, thank you!

And now, some pics, of course! As always, you can click them to view the larger size in a new window.

My friend and I, and what I wore.

Jessica, the pink fire truck.

A sea of pink as participants gathered to listen.

Two of the event's speakers.

And we're off!

Looking at all of the walkers was powerful.

There was pink everywhere!

Here’s some more information on breast cancer.

Do what you can to make sure you’re aware of your risk factors.  And make sure you do monthly self exams, of course.  Once you’re over 40, unless you have family history, you should start annual mammograms as well.  If you have a family history of breast cancer, you should probably start doing them sooner.  It’s important you take care of yourself!

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